SC bans Jallikattu again
One would have thought that the Jallikattu matter would have been laid to rest by now, but it seems the ban-allow-ban-allow cycle continues. It seems the lovers of the event not only have an annual Jallikattu in the fields but also have to fight a annual legal-Jallikattu in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court put the brakes on the 400-year old traditional bull taming sport of Jallikattu organized as part of Pongal celebrations in Tamil Nadu, saying guidelines to prevent cruely to animals have been violated.
“It appears that guidelines have been violated”, a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan said and directed the district collectors in the state “not to give any more permission for holding Jallikattu”.
Source : Deccan Chronicle print edition Jan 31 2009 (Page 1)
A lay person might wonder. Income tax guidelines are also violated with impunity – so do we ban income tax ?
Why have the successive Dravidian governments failed to convince the courts once and for all ?
The fact is that the sport is not just a pastime, it has deep religious significance to Hindus. If you want the judicial system to keep out of interfering in this event year-after-year, the strongest defence is religion. There is no Jallikattu without deep involvement by the local temple, either big ones like in Alaganallur or small Ayyanar (village guardian) shrines. The local belief of all castes in Tamilnadu (including the reviled Brahmins) is that certain events such as (Teppam, Ther, Tiruvizha) must happen in the village as a precondition for prosperity, good harvest, warding off diseases etc. Jallikattu is one very important such event.
Not allowing the conduct of this event plays havoc with the religious sentiments of the people.
Unfortunately, the Dravidian movement is unable to pursue this line due to its atheist claims. Dravidian parties therefore are unable to honestly reflect the deeply religious Tamil (of all castes) in the streets. The casualty is ancient Tamil religious beliefs. Today it is Jallikattu, tomorrow it might be Thai Poosam . Why not ban devotees from poking a spear in their tongue ?
To drive this point home further, here is a counter example.
The camel slaughter
This year over 100 camels were slaughtered for Bakrid across Tamilnadu as gurbani. Everyone knows there are no camels in South India. The media reported that these camels were make to walk all the way from Rajasthan on tar roads in searing heat. Remember, camels are used to walking on sand. Once they make the 2000 Km trek, they are made to lie down facing a particular direction in line with certain rules and their throats are slit. Then they bleed to death.
Yes, this makes bull taming look kind of tame !
Think about the camel slaughter. Can the supreme court ban this ? My humble guess is a big NO ! This ban will not occur because it has been attached to Muslim religious practice. (For the record. I do not think camel slaughter should be banned either- just some guidelines for their transportation)
Likewise, the government MUST argue in support of Jallikattu as having Hindu religious significance. If the government argues that it is just a Dravidian sport, then all bets are off. If you dishonestly strip Jallikattu of religious significance, then banning it is just like banning maanja (glass powder string) for kite flying.
What about the animal rights angle ?
I consider the animal rights allegations to be the weakest link in the chain. I challenge anyone from the SPCA to find a happier animal than the Jallikattu bull. Surely the SPCA knows that even as calves some bulls are aggressive. See a comment on my earlier post by Raja Marthandan. I have also seen some extremely aggressive bulls calves. Once selected for Jalli, they do not haul loads all over town like their castrated brothers. Instead they just roam around the village and getting pampered for an entire year. They also get to provide stud services for the better part of the year. With the exception of the Giant Panda, all other animals would trade places with a Jallikattu kaalai without blinking. If you dont believe me, ask the camel !!
I have great respect for the SPCA. I just wish they quit their campaign against Jallikattu and focus on more pressing tasks like the stray dog problem.
Yes, there are human fatalities, which must be curbed. If these fatalities occur then the district administration has failed in its duties and they are the ones that must be pulled up. Suspend the officials if required. The event itself cannot be tarnished or banned.